©Jeff Gely

My first bivouac shelter

Listening to nature

Bivouacking is the real cuddle with the mountains. The one before going to sleep, the caress of the moon, the hoarse lullaby of a gentle deer and, why not, the fascinating song of a wolf? It’s also about waking up in the dew of dawn, coffee in the sleeping bag, the icy stream to wash yourself up. The bivouac cuddle is the heart beating in unison with nature, the return of a gentle feeling of tiny in the immense, of peace above the valleys, of measured gestures to make yourself discreet. In short, it’s an experience to be lived.

An oxygen boost

Bivouacking for a very first night means treating yourself to a different kind of mountaineering. In an alpine meadow in the Queyras or a larche forest in the Guillestrois, pitching your tent at sunset is an opportunity to set off again in the morning from where you arrived the day before. Improvise your sleeping arrangements, extend your range, change valleys… An immense breath of oxygen and freedom. But of course, you have to prepare for it. Make sure your nights under the stars don’t turn into sleepless nights.

A kaleidoscope of sensations

Return to your roots…

It sounds so simple. A tent, a sleeping bag, a stove, a canteen and off you go! Find yourself a flat spot, not too far away, not too close to a stream. Keep your eyes wide open, it helps to think of your hosts, wild animals… Don’t disturb them, we’re in their living room. We could hear them, maybe even see them! The sun tilts behind the horizon… Wow, can you feel the temperature dropping? Earlier, we were sweating, and now we’re happily pulling out beanies and winter jackets.

After a good meal, we’re off to our sleeping bag. It’s like a warmth that warms your belly. The quality of silence. Everything has calmed down. Only the air seems to vibrate. In the distance, the torrent hums. Sleep overtakes you… The next morning, you wake up wondering “why didn’t we do this before? “.

Regulatory informationThe Ristolas-Mount Viso Reserve
Reserve regulations
  • Authorized bivouac shelter areas

    Bivouac shelters are permitted:

    • Less than 20 meters away from authorized marked trails.
    • More than 20 meters away from lake banks and, ideally, rivers.
    • More than 500 metres away from a refuge.
    • Outside areas used by livestock and sites sensitive to the species conservation such as Lanza’s salamanders.
    • On the “Pointe Gastaldi” flat for climbers crossing the border ridge.

      In general, visitors are encouraged to use their common sense to preserve the environment, avoiding, for example, wetlands sensitive to trampling. Some prohibited areas will be marked with nets, but others may be left unmarked to preserve the landscape.

  • General guidelines & Good habits
    • Bivouac shelters must be set up after 6 p.m. and dismantled by 9 a.m.
    • Leave with your waste, including toilet paper.
    • The bivouac shelter must be more than one hour’s walk from the first hamlet (L’Echalp).
    • Do not move rocks to preserve micro-habitats.
    • Use stoves in non-wooded areas only; fires are forbidden.
    • Do not dig gullies around your tent.
    • Do not use detergents such as soap, toothpaste or washing-up liquid.